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Letters to the Editor: An apology is due

| March 25, 2021 12:05 AM

An apology is due

I believe the person responsible for the disgusting anti-Biden float in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ronan owes the Float Committee, the other float participants, the Irish American community (tribal and non-tribal), and the community at large — especially the parents and children who were there to have a good time — a sincere apology.

It’s sad that this event, held together by generous volunteers and fun-loving participants, was tainted by the foul language and mean spirit of the float. I am told that the committee, upon seeing the float, asked the owner to not participate, and he refused. I’ve also heard that they called the police, and that no action was taken. I feel for the volunteers who did the work of getting the parade together only to face the thoughtless belligerence of this person.

As always, it takes one jerk to make written rules and regulations necessary for folks who just want to get together and have fun. I hope the City Council and the Float Committee will take that action, however, if that’s what is needed to prevent this kind of behavior and worse in future parades.

— Mary Herak Sand, Missoula (formerly Charlo)

An embarrassing display

Attending Ronan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been a tradition we look forward to. This year was no different; it was a beautiful day for the parade. We were enjoying ourselves until “Benjamin Montgomery Services” and “Mr. Emporium” drove their business vehicle in the parade with a horrible sign in the front, defaming our president of the United States.

We went from smiling and laughing to going home in wonderment.

Did anyone else feel ashamed and embarrassed that a nice, family-oriented parade became an ugly political statement?

Are there any standards for parade vehicles? What did it have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?

What a disappointment St. Patrick’s Day was this year.

— Lori Lasche, Polson

Vaping bill a health hazard

It took decades to understand the dangers of secondhand cigarette smoke. We’re ahead in learning about secondhand smoke from alternative nicotine devices such as e-cigarettes. Supporters erroneously claim they release only water vapor. Along with water vapor is acetone, formaldehyde and propylene glycol (American Lung Assoc) in addition to heavy metals nickel, tin and lead. Exposure to secondhand aerosol is not safe. It’s why vaping should be kept outdoors.

Who opposes indoor vaping? The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Given the toxins in vape aerosols, why is the Montana Legislature considering a bill that would allow the use of e-cigarettes in most public buildings? Alternative nicotine products contain nicotine and produce secondhand aerosols, but they do not contain plant tobacco. HB-137 seeks to identify them separately from tobacco products; thus laws pertaining to indoor smoking would not pertain to e-cigarettes. In addition, the bill states that Health and Human Services and local health departments cannot create new regulations, or continue any existing regulations about e-cigarette use. Existing tobacco product regulations, including indoor use restrictions, would not pertain to e-cigarettes.

The 2005 MT Clean Indoor Act, created before vape products existed, would not apply to e-cigarette or other vape products. There would be no protection to exposure to dangerous secondhand vape aerosols at grocery stores, restaurants, airports, banks and businesses.

HB-137 will set us back 30 years and put Montanans at risk. The place for e-cigarettes is outside. Please contact your Montana senator to oppose HB-137.

— Stephanie Brancati, Big Arm

Fixing irrigation management

Federal Water Compact legislation provides irrigators and tribes options for re-establishing a joint entity to manage the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project FIIP. The earlier Cooperative Management Entity CME successfully managed the project from 2010 until early 2014. But because of conflicts among irrigators, the Bureau of Indian Affairs resumed FIIP management in 2014.

Irrigator conflicts that led to the demise of the CME severely disrupted FIIP operations with negative consequences for irrigators that remain today. Without the efforts of dedicated project employees, the consequences for irrigators would have been far worse.

Thus, a new CME2 should insulate project management from political conflicts among irrigators and between irrigators and the tribes.

First, the agreement should specify that the CME2 board is responsible for overseeing FIIP and that tribal and irrigator organizations do not have a direct role in FIIP management.

Second, a CME2 board should avoid becoming engaged in irrigator-tribal political conflicts and that it should protect project management from the impact of any such conflicts.

Third, all project employees should be prohibited from becoming involved in any irrigator-tribal political conflicts.

Fourth, if one party decides not to continue with the CME2 agreement, the other party takes full control of project management and operations.

— Dick Erb, Charlo-Moiese

Lawmakers off the rails

I’m sure I am not the only person distraught over the goings on at the Legislature. I’m concerned that they don’t appear to have done much research on a lot of bills. Legislators have squandered lots of tax dollars looking out for themselves and their buddies, not the common good. They have promoted hatred of gays, transgender children, wolves. They have gone after voters. All these with no data that I have seen, just their emotions.

There are about five voter suppression bills here when all election officials say 2020 was one of the most secure elections ever. I called 10 county election offices around the state. I asked if they had issues with voter fraud. One county said that a mother had signed her child’s absentee ballot. It was caught because counties carefully check signatures. I asked if their local representatives contacted them for information. No on all counts but one. One employee said that some residents in her county who have always voted absentee were against mail in ballots. One law that did not pass would have stopped absentee voting for snowbirds who left early and for those of us who get our mail at a post office box. How much thought went into that one?

Legislators wish to butt into personal issues where they have no business and without data. How many transgender kids are there in Montana? How many little boys have mutilated themselves so they can play girls sports? Data please. How many wolves have snatched kids and pets off the back porch? Whoops — the real issue is that the sponsor is a trapper and would like to have his business/hobby expanded and subsidized.

People should track the goings on in Helena. The attacks have been endless, embarrassing, without merit and on your nickel. Do your own research, ask questions, verify what you hear.

— Vicky Maclean, Ronan